Grant coordinator’s support makes humanities institute a success

Graphic with a photo of Elise Stella on the left and a photo of Spooner Hall with the text "unsung hero; Elise Stella; Office of Research" on the right.

Elise Stella makes things less complicated for the co-directors of the Public Digital Humanities Institute.

The institute trains 12 teams of two in digital humanities best practices and is funded by a National Endowment for the Humanities grant. KU librarian Brian Rosenblum and Dave Tell, professor of communication studies, jointly head the program. 

“Although this is perhaps a small grant compared to many other awards managed by the Office of Research, it is my first grant of this type and my first time working extensively with the office. Elise has been tremendously valuable in helping me understand the processes and policies, in helping create and manage the budget, and in keeping me informed throughout the entire grant period,” Rosenblum said. 

As a grant coordinator in Award Management Services, Stella helps KU researchers use external funding they receive to accomplish their research goals. 

“Elise thinks about the process and is strategic. She’s really looking at the big picture,” said Jessica Chilcoat, Stella’s supervisor. “She’s always so eager and willing to help, including backing up people when they’re out and showing training examples to her team.” 

Some external grants provide funding for staff members performing tasks outside of their normal responsibilities. Stella ensures that appropriate KU payment mechanisms are used to compensate these staff members. AMS leaders say tasks like this require strong organizational skills. They note that Stella’s attention to detail also shines in conversations about information management in the department. 

“She’s diligent and provides thoughtful and intentional feedback to help create clarity,” said Jessica Johnson Webb, associate director of AMS. "Elise goes above and beyond."

“Without question, the institute would not have been the great success it was without her solid support,” Rosenblum said. "[She] has made my first experience working with the Office of Research an exemplary one."